areas of practice

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Asylum is a form of legal protection for individuals and their families who have arrived in the United States and who are afraid to return to their country of citizenship.  If you are afraid to return to your country of citizenship, you should speak to an attorney to see if you meet the other requirements. If you have not yet applied for asylum, you will generally file the I-589 form with supporting documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you are in court, you will file that application with the immigration judge. 

You may apply for employment authorization (work permit) if 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND no decision has been made on your application.

If you are granted asylum you may work immediately.

If you are granted asylum you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States by filing a Form I-730. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.You may apply for a Green Card one year after being granted asylum.

citizenship & Naturalization

You may qualify for naturalization or citizenship if you have been a Green Card holder for 5 years (or 3 years if you are the spouse of a US Citizen), if you are a member of the U.S. armed forces and meet all eligibility requirements, or if you may acquire citizenship through your parents.  

In addition to these qualifications, there are generally other requirements, such as being 18 years or older, being of good moral character, having a basic knowledge of U.S. government, having continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S., and meeting certain English language requirements.

green card

A Green Card is a document (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) that allows the holder to live and work permanently in the United States.

There are many ways to apply for a green card, such as through marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder, through certain family members, through certain employment visas, through asylum, after having a U-visa for a specified period of time, and other ways.

If a family or employment petition has been filed for you, or if you believe that you meet other eligibility requirements, you should contact an attorney for assistance.


The U.S. issues two types of visas: non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas.  A non-immigrant visa is for the purpose of travel to the U.S., and is intended for individuals such as: business visitors, athletes, exchange visitors, intra-company transfers, entertainers, professors, students, temporary agricultural workers, tourists, and others. 

An immigrant visa is intended for those coming to the United States to live here permanently. These are intended for certain family members of U.S. Citizens or Green Card holders, also for fiances of U.S. Citizens. Immigrant visas are also issued for certain priority workers.

immigration court

The function of Immigration Court is to determine if someone should be removed or deported from the United States. The process is called “removal proceedings.”

The Department of Homeland Security will issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) to an individual or individuals that they allege do not have a right to remain in the U.S. When someone has been issued an NTA, they are in removal proceedings.  However, merely being placed in removal proceedings does not mean that the individual does not have a right to remain here. The immigration judge will decide.

There are many possible defenses to being deported. One defense if if the individual has a fear of returning to his or her home country, and may be eligible to apply for asylum. Another possible defense is that a family member has petitioned for that person, and the beneficiary is eligible to adjust status (acquire a green card). Another possibility is that the government has incorrectly issued the NTA, and the person is actually not removable because he or she is in valid status.

Unfortunately, if you are in immigration court, the government will not provide an attorney for you. This law firm understands the economic difficulties facing those in immigration court, which is why we try to keep our prices as low as possible.

other immigration matters

O’Brien immigration handles other immigration matters not specifically mentioned here, such as extraordinary ability Green Cards, National Interest Waivers, appeals, non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas, and others. Please contact the firm if you would like a consultation.